Category Archives: Commentary

Why I’m voting “No” on a NYS Constitutional Convention

This Tuesday, Election Day, when you go to vote for me (and all the other Green Party candidates on the ballot), don’t forget to turn the ballot over and vote “No” on the proposition question of the call for a constitutional convention. While this may seem like a positive pro-active idea, the process for electing delegates is as subject to money and influence as the election system in general.

Here are some considerations (all with which I agree) that a friend of mine posted recently:

  • “First, if this proposal were to pass the convention would cost hundreds of millions of dollars including a minimum salary of $79,500 for each of 204 delegates for a total minimum salary cost of $16,218,000.
  • Second, these delegates would be elected after running for these seats in the ConCon. Corporations and other special interests could spend millions to have their lobbyists elected to the ConCon.
  • Third, Albany insiders, politicians and their families could double-dip on their salary and pensions. Each delegate would receive pension credit.

Now for what could be affected by a constitutional convention:

  • although proponents of this proposal say pensions are safe from meddling by these delegates because they are contracts and protected by the US Constitution, if the ConCon nevertheless makes changes to the pension system someone would have to take it to court to declare the change unconstitutional. Pensioners would hope the court sees it their way.
  • the “forever wild” provision of the NYS Constitution, creating the Adirondack Park, could be changed or abolished.
  • access to a quality public education is currently guaranteed by the state constitution.
  • election and voting rights are currently protected in our state constitution.

The last constitutional convention produced proposals for amendments to the state constitution. The voters rejected all of them.

New York State already has a legislative process to amend the state constitution which doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything.

A ConCon seems too risky given how it would be conducted.”

 

 

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Political Notes 2/2/17: Silence is complicity

belong-hereI have not seen one statement or comment by any of the elected pols who presumably represent me — City Council Member Annabel Palma, State Assembly Member Luis Sepulveda, State Senator Jeffrey Klein, or Congress Member Joseph Crowley  — speaking out against the Administration’s Muslim ban. Neither have I seen or heard anything from the three candidates who have announced their intentions to run for Palma’s open seat in Council District 18: Amanda Farias, Elvin Garcia or Michael Beltzer. I find this particularly unconscionable  from pols whose districts are home to, not only a vibrant and growing Muslim community, but immigrants from Mexico; the Caribbean; and Asian, South Asian, African, and Central and South American countries. This section of the Bronx has never been as diverse as it is now. I find it encouraging, positive…and essential to keeping our community strong and stable. Continue reading